Reconsidering Massage
by Brian Dean

While massage is something that you think about when you are at a fancy resort on vacation, luxuriating under someone’s touch in the absolute decadent world, it is actually much more that that. It is necessary healthcare that we ignore, but should not.

When we think of massage, we think of many movies where the rich folks are at some resort in the mountains, where they get into mineral baths and then get worked on by people whose names are Ingrid or Svetlana or Sven. And because the cost of massage, and the unavailability of it (at least at the time the movies were made), we still think it is only a luxury. But with today’s stresses and work issues, it really is something we need, and it is not as unaffordable or unavailable as one might think.

In the workplace, there are many types of stress, and as doctors keep telling us, stress is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure which can lead to heart problems. We need a way to relax, and chill out. We need to play as well as work, but all too often, there are other issues that keep us from playing. So, when we are stressed, we see the doctor who gives us medication to help us stay calm. Massage can help one de-stress without filling your system with ‘happy juice’.

Massage works the muscles, removing lactic acid from them and flushing it out of your system. It affects the Parasympathetic nervous System (PNS), the part of your system that works in the form of rest and repose (as opposed to the Sympathetic Nervous System with produces the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism). Massage also produces a feeling of well-being which is caused by the release of endorphins, a natural chemical created in the body.

Basically, massage is a way to relax and let go. It is an hour of forced quiet time which allows someone to come out much calmer than they were when they went in. But it is more than that.

Today’s work environments have changed dramatically from 20 years ago. Today, we spend most of our time working on computers which means we are typing, sitting, and bending. Because of this, most people have issues with their lower back and their shoulders and neck. Many people hurt from sitting so long, or typing so much. Others suffer from related problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (a painful lump in their wrists). Massage can help these issues as well.

Massage can work the muscles of the neck and shoulders as well as the low back, glutes, and legs. Through these movements one can remove a lot of the pain as massage can relieve tension in specific areas of the body. By stretching the muscles, it makes them relax and feel looser and less painful.

Massage is also good for people that have specific problems because of how they use their body during work. It is good for athletes as it helps keep their bodies from hurting. Various types of massage can also reduce problems from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Fibromyalgia if not remove the problems completely.

But while massage is not free, it does not have to be so exorbitant that it is completely unaffordable. Unfortunately, when we think of massage, we think of day spas where the cost of a 50 minute session can be anywhere from $80 to $125. But there are places that do massage at a much lower rate, and you will not sacrifice quality for the lower price.

You see, here’s the secret, just because someone charges a lot of money for what they do, that does not mean that they are good. (Of course massage is subjective, and not everyone likes what every massage therapist does.) There are many massage studios that charge in the range of $60 that have good therapists working in them. You need to call and talk to the people and see if they are knowledgeable and willing to answer questions. Also, see how long the sessions are, and how much of that session time is massage (many places will quote an hour session, but massage is only 50 minutes of that). Once you feel comfortable with the place you talk to, then you go in and see what they can do.

Massage can help most people deal with the problems of this day and age. Even receiving a session once a month is helpful. In many cases, a doctor can prescribe massage, and many insurance companies are now paying for massage sessions.

So, maybe it is time to rethink what massage is and what it can do for you. Go ahead. Book a session today.